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[GreenYes] Fwd: Zero Waste Goal for UNC Chapel Hill
Apologies for Cross-Postings

>From: "Shea, Cynthia \(Office of Assoc Vice Chancellor, Campus Services\)" 
>Date: Wed, 30 Oct 2002 15:17:16 -0500
>I thought you might want to add this article to your files and possibly
>share it with the GreenYes list serve +/or some other groups...
>I wrote it at Blair Pollock's request and it appeared tucked into the back
>of the Chapel Hill News. The Chancellor's speech writer also has a copy 
>and may start introducing the concept. We've already done a lot, 
>especially with green building, stormwater management, transportation, 
>business education, and recycling.
>Cindy Pollock Shea
>Sustainability Coordinator
>University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
>Voice: 919-843-5251
>Fax:    919-843-4567
>Change is inevitable. It's the resistance to change that's optional.

Cindy Pollock Shea
Sustainability Coordinator UNC Chapel Hill

Many companies and institutions now realize that anything leaving the 
premises via a dumpster, discharge, or smokestack is an unnecessary expense 
and potential liability. The new thinking is that everything leaving the 
building should generate revenue. A DuPont representative speaking recently 
at UNC's Kenan-Flagler Business School, stated that new DuPont factories in 
Asia have almost reached the corporate goal of zero waste and emissions.

At UNC Chapel Hill, a similar effort is afoot to reduce waste campus-wide.

The traditional recycling program for paper products and beverage 
containers, coupled with composting of food waste from the main dining hall 
and research laboratory animal bedding captures 37 percent of campus 
discards. This saves $600,000 annually in avoided landfill fees. Adding the 
16,000 tons of recycled coal ash from UNC's combined heat and power plant 
to the waste equation, brings the overall campus recycling rate to 74 
percent. A new program that was piloted in August at Fall Fest will reduce 
the waste generated at special events by providing staffed recycling 
stations that include a container for compostable food waste and paper 

Today's concept of waste encompasses an ever larger scope. Warm air leaving 
a building on a cold day represents an energy source that could be used 
more efficiently. Rainwater is a valuable resource that could be used to 
flush toilets or irrigate the landscape. Fluorescent lights illuminated on 
a sunny day represent both electricity consumption, and an increase in air 
conditioning load, that would be unnecessary if the building were designed 
to harness daylight more effectively.

New programs to use energy, water, and materials more efficiently are being 
introduced in a range of new and existing campus buildings.

With 5.9 million square feet of new buildings and renovations planned over 
the next 10 years, campus construction waste could overwhelm area landfills 
and quickly run up disposal costs. At the Murphey Hall renovation project 
begun last year, a waste management specification was included in 
construction documents for the first time.

Campus departments, outside architects, and stores that sell second-hand 
building materials first identified items that could be salvaged and used 
again. Once the contractor started work, these items were released to the 
parties that had expressed interest in them.

Then the contractors wrote up plans for managing and recycling the items 
they would remove from the building. Limited space prevented a separate 
container for each material type. Fortunately, Materials Reclamation in 
Raleigh separates mixed loads of building debris for recycling. Fully 85 
percent of the materials removed from the building found a new life as a 
recycled product. The contractors saved money relative to disposal and 
readily admitted they would not have explored the recycling option if the 
University had not pushed it.

The Campus Master Plan to guide the placement of new buildings, parking, 
and greenspace includes an Environmental Master Plan to guide natural 
resource management. One tenet of the plan is that stormwater be regarded 
as an opportunity, rather than a problem. While most new buildings and 
parking lots create more impervious surface, which increases stormwater 
runoff, UNC Chapel Hill has adopted a different  approach. In the future, 
stormwater will be used to irrigate new and existing green spaces and 
slowly recharge creeks.

During the expansion planned throughout this decade, the University has 
pledged not to increase the volume, rate or pollutant load of stormwater 
leaving campus. Infill development, clay soils, and a vast network of 
underground utilities rule out the use of detention ponds, the strategy 
most area developers use to hold runoff.

Instead, the University is exploring a range of best management practices 
and has already adopted several. The new Park and Ride lot on Highway 54, 
next to the Friday Center, is topped with porous pavement, as is the 
expansion to the remote student parking lot on Estes Drive Extension. 
Porous pavement -- and the gravel underneath it -- store rain until the 
water seeps slowly into the ground, recharging area creeks. The 
petrochemicals and heavy metals that typically flush quickly into storm 
sewers and streams are filtered by the soil, rendering them less harmful to 

Recreation fields and new green spaces provide additional water holding 
potential. At Carmichael Field on South Road a 70,000 gallon underground 
cistern stores the rain that falls on the School of Government and the 
indoor track. The water will be used in the future to irrigate the playing 
field. (This site is not yet sodded because of outdoor watering 

At the Carrington Nursing School addition, a vegetated roof -- known in the 
ecological building world as a "green roof" -- will soak up rainwater. 
Situated next to an attractive patio, the privately funded roof will 
provide students with a green vista during breaks in their studies. In some 
German cities, the multiple benefits of "green" roofs make them mandatory 
in new construction.

A green roof is also planned at the Rams Head Project. There, a surface 
parking lot will be transformed into a three level parking deck. Atop the 
deck will be a green plaza, an at-grade walkway in a currently steep part 
of campus, and a new dining hall and recreation center. Rain falling on the 
buildings will supply water to irrigate the plaza, providing a  new green 
gathering place on south campus.

Lighting upgrades, water-free urinals, and recycling programs for 
batteries, dental amalgam, and computer monitors are all part of the effort 
to reduce waste at UNC Chapel Hill. As national recycling activist Gary 
Liss puts it, "If you're not for zero waste, how much waste are you for?"

Cindy Pollock Shea is the Sustainability Coordinator at UNC Chapel Hill.

To see the Sustainability Coalition's most recent annual report or to sign 
up for its events listserve, see

Gary Liss
Fax: 916-652-0485

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